Friday, May 27, 2016

Massive Productivity Improvement #1: Three Goals Per Week. Three Tasks Per Day.

If you're always trying better balance the hours in your jam-packed day, this new productivity series will help you make those long-standing (long-ignored or unfinished) goals and dreams come true. For the past couple of weeks I've spent nearly every space moment I can engrossed in studying the productivity tips and methods of the super-successful, I thought I may as well share everything I'm learning for all my fellow busy-bodies trying to make so many creative things happen! Today's tip is a simple old trick to try. Here's what you do:

1) Think of all the things you want to accomplish. What is the #1 goal you need to finish to get you on the path toward finishing your other ones? The big one that will get the momentum moving on your other projects?

Be Ready for June 1st Market

2) Break that into three big tasks to finish to complete your goal. This is looking at it from the macro perspective:

Be Ready for June 1st Market

1. Finish New Products and Promotions
2. Packed and Ready Way Ahead of Time (Inventory / New Tracking)
3. Fix Damaged Labels, Prevent Future Damage

3) Then break those into 3 tasks to finish per day and schedule them in your calendar. Consolidate similar tasks:

Friday 27th

1) Fixative Purchase (Do Returns, Get New Sign / Baskets while there)

2) Fix Labels
3) Inventory Catch-Up / New Inventory System (Compile All Recipes)

Saturday 28th

1) Make Products
2) Make Father's Day Baskets
3) Gather & Organize Product, Packed & Ready To Go

We're actually more productive when we laser focus and complete a few tasks that we specifically scheduled to finish a big goal rather than working randomly or trying to fit everything in one day. It doesn't work because we lose focus and burn out. Using the Rule of Threes productivity method above keeps you focused and productive without being frazzled or overwhelmed. If you try it, let me know how it works for you.

If you have any productivity tips of your own to share, let me know in the comments! I want to make this a new regular series.
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Monday, May 23, 2016

Historic Springfield Tour of Homes: Fascinating Renovated Historic Home Inspiration

Historic Springfield is a turn of the century district adjacent to downtown Jacksonville that's in the process of being beautifully revitalized after years of disrepair. Named by the January 2010 issue of Southern Living as the #1 Comeback neighborhood in the South, it's filled with charming bungalows and victorian style homes, nearly each one equipped with dreamy wrap-around porches for enjoying sunny  Florida days. On this tour we left early enough to see all the homes (for once!) here's what we saw:

Tour Starting Location

Your starting location is a gorgeous rehabbed 1880s-1900s era commercial building. The colors and fixtures are modern but keeping some of the historic brick and fixtures retains some history.

House #1

Our first stop was a massive home the juxtaposed traditional furnishings with comic book and disney collections. I appreciated a Bat Symbol decal on a front window in a style that almost mirrored the home's original stained glass installments. The tall-walled, spacious, renovated kitchen, master suite in-progress in the attic space and 9 (!) headed shower were awe inspiring.

House #2

Our second home required shoes-off before entrance, when you saw the immaculate black flooring you knew why! This home was still in-progress and near-empty but still striking, with up-to-the-minute modern immunities and sleek building materials in all in black, white, or slate gray. Again, the fresh new sinks and bathrooms were incredible!

House #3

House 4 had the cozy, artful feel of a space curated by an art professor or a museum creator. Every collection or corner was arranged with beautiful adherence to classic design principles. I enjoyed the worldly art and natural collections. There was gemstones, sea shells, Buddhist sculptures, and beautiful art pottery scattered throughout the home.

House #4

House #4 was one of my favorites. One unit in a triplex, small but cozy with perfect space utilization and a clean youthful vibe. It was one of AJ's favorites, too.

House #5

This home's exterior belied it's massive size. The interior kept going and going! A spacious home with a dreamy entire upper floor for the master bedroom with plush carpeting a beautiful, airy connected bath. That tub! Another show-stopped was a large brick fireplace in the living room/entryway. The whole home had an old world European vibe.

House #6

The final house was the size of a small museum! I'd love for that to be open to the public just so I can hang out on those massive porches. With tea. And snacks. Let me in! Volunteers informed us of the colorful history, pointing out servants stairways, butler's pantries and a servant's bathroom converted into a wine cellar. The home was converted into a boarding home for the needy in the 1930s, even the balconies were divided into living spaces.

It was a lot of fun to explore the beautiful homes, contemplate the personalities son the owners via the furnishings and music (when available) and just enjoy the sunny day in Springfield. I'll be back to tour new homes next year and explore the area more in the meantime.
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Life Lately: Markets, Clients, Reptiles, Cute Critters, Body Care Products, Herbs!


It's time to learn how to do as much as possible in as little time as possible because things are crazy busy around here and need to get crazier! I'm grateful despite some dizzyingly stressful of busy days, I get to wake up and do what I love every single day and basically make my own schedule: that, along with doing creative work that helps people, makes it all worth it!

We've been doing every market we can for Body & Soul. I don't know how people are finding us because I've done zero marketing for it, but we keep getting invites! We've been invited to sell at a school market this Friday so I only have a few days to formulate some teacher-friendly stuff and make some cute custom signs.

Custom order photo before some centering and brightening, we have a baby line in production and some custom baskets were requested. They got rave reviews and it was fun to bust out our crafting chops! I miss crafting stuff, gotta make time for it!

The sales are going well and we can't keep up with custom orders, now it's time for us to ramp-up production so we can get into stores. If you need custom body care product formulations let me know, we can literally make anything you can think of: massage products, pain relief, herbal pills, tea, lotion, bath bombs, salves, cleaners, soaps, shampoos, balms, ointments, etc - all clinically formulated to be extremely healing. One thing we want to do more than anything is formulate custom products for other brands/stores.

One of our favorite markets, Earth Day at the Jacksonville Landing, had gorgeous reptiles to behold.

AJ hates them (this specimen in particular, he's still joking about the "unholy beast" weeks later) but I adore reptiles. I don't know how they squeezed this guy into a shirt. He was roaming around on Earth Day for people to see.

I'm also now a part of my friend Lia's non-profit organization, Giving Greens. I can't do as much of the leg work she's doing (and she's doing an AMAZING job) but I'll be helping with the gardening, the events I can attend, photos, marketing and the website. It's been a dream of mine to help start a non-profit and I stand behind the mission of making healthy eating assessable to all. I can't wait until we start opening more community gardens all around the city.

I'm still taking product-photos for clients. Above is an outtake, shooting clear and white against white can be hard to get right! Above is the Beginner Herbalist course I'm now teaching online via distance learning, it's fun to come up with the supplies and lesson plans. I'm still taking classes (they'll never end, aah!) and want to go back to college to finish my digital media degree but with my holistic classes it doesn't feel like the 'right time.' But there will never be a 'right time', just kick my ass and make me do it, reader. Tell me to suck it up and go back to school. :P The other problem is my "scanner" tendency to want to do everything it does NOT match up with traditional school's one-size-fits-all-you-only-stay-in-one-field-and-get-one-degree-dammit ways. (I'd love to go to school for nutrition or psychology too but it's not practical if you're not determined to make a career in those fields...)

This weekend, stressed with a brain next-to bursting with too much information I finally gave myself time to scrub this apartment! Things were scattered because SOMETHING had to give, so busy, but now everything's back in it's place. It's not perfect (despite two Kon Mari cleanses, I think a problem is that she didn't cover how to handle constant influx of stuff when you run a business in your home) but I've given up on that- even if I had to hastily throw stuff in boxes out of desperation and put those away, it's uncluttered and thus not stressing me to look at, that's what's important for now!

And just a couple of critter shots! Above is Lotus, whom I share an office with at the Herbalism studio I work at, and my white shadow Yuko that follows me everywhere begging for food!

BTW: I'm still bummed about my favorite artist's sudden passing. I've been enjoying the various tributes and enjoying his videos being snuck online while I can. A couple articles I really enjoyed lately include: these hilarious stories (all in his personal circle said he was super funny and a prankster) & even better collection of his best screams - he had the best in the business, hands-down.

How're things going in your world? 
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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

5 Reasons Why I'm Planning Cross-Country RV Adventures: Creativity, Freedom

Ah, the open road. Traveling across the USA is an American dream, who hasn't craved that adventure? Why wait until retirement to experience the varied landscapes from East to West coast? I have a few particular reasons (mostly related to creativity, of course) for why I'm planning a future cross-country RV adventure.

1. Destroy Complacency 

I've got myself in a very comfortable proverbial cocoon right now. I live peacefully with my best friend and boyfriend at very low cost, my work and school is in close walking distance and both my school and work are related to my start-up business. I should never complain, but I do feel like I need to stretch into my growth zone, to be a good creator and country travel would be a good way to do that.

2. Sights and Culture

I want to drink in the sights and cultures of the world like a sponge, new experiences are necessary to be creative- and they're just damn fun! Travel is a huge passion of mine.

3. Location Independent Work

Making RV travel a goal will force me to make my work more location independent and/or seasonal. It's a challenge, but like I said in reason one, challenges are vital!

4. Potential Savings / Sustainable and Minimalist 

With the way I currently live, living in an RV might cost more than my lifestyle. HOWEVER, it's cheaper than the "typical" mortgage on a home life. I could see myself living in a micro home or RV before ever getting into debt for a home. Regardless of savings, I do strive to live sustainably and minimally and RV life forces you to go with the essentials and little else.

5. Forces You Outside

Living in an RV or micro-home (we're not sure if we're going to all-out move into an RV yet, depends if circumstances take us away from Jacksonville, perhaps) forces you to go out more and really live versus always being cramped inside your cozy quarters. I love being a homebody and have trouble getting out to nature and interesting social scenes like I use to. Time to get out!

"Giant cheese and crackers and mimosas on a rustic log for breakfast again, dear? I LOVE IT!"
I have never seen a man look that happy. It's the RV, of course!
They look like 1960s Barbie and Ken. I love vintage ads. 

Many decisions I've made the past year or so have been in preparation for potential future micro house or RV living. I rarely thrift because I don't want to have many new possessions if I'll be in cramped quarters (or too many items in storage). I've Kon Mari'd my home twice and I still have purging to do. I stopped reselling vintage and gave up on shop-owning plans because I really dug deep and looked at what I want my future to look like. I want it to be location independent and free; being tied to heavy boxes of vintage made me feel like I was walking with an anvil tied to my ankle.

I don't know when I'll be in a place where I can buy a bus/RV or any vehicle suitable for road adventures and hit the road, but I do know that it's time to begin research. I know one day the cross-country adventuring will be a valuable learning and growing experience for AJ and I, but for now, we have a comfortable, inexpensive roost and life while we go to school and I'm grateful for that.

* Images from Retro Renovation | Adventure Journal 

Do you dream of your own RV road trips? Have you gone on any? I'd love it if you had tips to share on getting started! Please e-mail me with some if you have them!

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Who Else Wants Effortless Energy and Productivity? Try Quiet Morning Rituals

As I continue my training as an aromatherapist and herbalist I take on a lot of practice clients. I tend to use friends, family, and happy volunteers and write-up healing plans. Nearly everyone is too busy, stressed, and tired. They need help with energy and sleep. I found myself recommending something simple that I used to do and need to get back to again; an hour of quiet time before work.  A calming morning ritual can help you be more productive and happy throughout the day.

My friends who see my operate on island-time way too much these days would find it hard to believe that I was given a key to the office when I was a copywriter because I was always the first one there. I'd wake up and leave crazy early to avoid traffic and arrive at my desk when the office was still near-empty (or dead empty), dark, and quiet. I'd turn on my lamp, enjoy my tea, and slowly check e-mail, follow-up on my favorite blogs/websites, write (not clocked in) and revel in the alone-time before the boss arrived and the office was bright and chaotic with employees. When I first started working for myself, stuck in office-brain, I'd get dressed in business casual and sit at my home computer and get right to work. Now I'm in flip flops and house clothes and do the same thing- always get straight to work soon after waking. I also wake up too late because AJ works nights so I've synced my circadian rhythm with his. This has to change!  Here's what an ideal morning ritual would look like for me:

My tiny reiki and meditation practice area with gemstones, sage, candles, and essential oils.

1) Water, Banana or Superfood Smoothie, get work-out (bike or weights) in first-thing for energy (walk or bike to gym)
2) Water and Tea, write "Morning Pages" (From "The Artist's Way") and "Gratitude List", Review Goals and Planner
3) Meditate/Reiki Practice
4) Tackle To-Do List with New Energy

Of course, I can't do any of that when I'm rolling out of bed at 10:30 or 11 AM because then too much of the day's gone by and I have to jump right into work!  For an evening "ritual" I'd just like some extended reading/writing/taking notes or creating time. (With Prince records.) Right now I don't stop working until 3AM, which is, of course, something I'd advice patients against! But I'm taking steps to re-set myself and get to a point where the new routine can be a reality.

Sleep and Rest like water is one of the priorities many of us Americans don't give ourselves. We burn the candles at both ends and end up with so many health problems as a result. If you're always frantically in a rush to work bursting through the office doors 2 seconds 'til clock-in time, try arriving early, even if you have to sit down at the nearby Panera or even your car until the office doors open. Skip the traffic and take some time for yourself. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
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